EU approves Finland's investment aid to sulphur scrubbers
23 January 2013 - the European Commission approved amendments to Finland's state aid scheme on vessel investments improving the level of environmental protection. Following the approval, investment aid may also be granted for the purpose of retrofitting vessels with exhaust gas cleaning systems, such as sulphur scrubbers.
"I am delighted that the Commission approved our aid scheme. Investment aid targeted at scrubbers is one instrument that helps us solve the challenges associated with the new sulphur limits. I consider the investment aid to be important since it enables us to increase the level of environmental protection in maritime transport, promote the development of environmental technology together with employment in the field, and help the shipping business adapt to the sulphur rules", Minister of Transport Ms Merja Kyllönen said.
In the 2012 budget negotiations, the Ministry of Transport and Communications proposed an investment aid of EUR 30 million for the retrofitting of existing ships with emission abatement technologies.
The present Government Decree on environmental investment aid to vessels covers new vessel investments. Now, the scope of the Decree is amended to include the retrofitting of existing ships with emission abatement technologies. The purpose is to initiate an application process concerning retrofitting aid during 2013. The aid scheme is valid until the end of 2014.
Within the framework of the aid scheme approved by the EU, state aid granted to retrofitting operations, such as sulphur scrubbers, may total a maximum of 50 per cent of the costs included in the project.
The Commission considers Finland to be a good example of how countries can anticipate and adapt their practices to comply with EU Directives.
The EU Sulphur Directive, issued in November 2012, implements in EU legislation the sulphur emission limits adopted by the International Maritime Organization IMO in 2008. In Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs), including the Baltic Sea, the maximum content of sulphur in ship fuel is 0.1% as of 2015. According to the Directive, the emission limit applicable to other areas within the EU will decrease to one per cent in 2020.
Ms Sarianne Hartonen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Transport, tel. +358 295 342 325
Mr Tero Jokilehto, Senior Specialist, Director of the Transport Market Unit, tel. +358 295 342 568, +358 40 535 0574
Ms Laura Eiro, Senior Adviser for International Affairs, tel. +358 295 342 668, +358 40 096 9293